Pa. medical liability case filings fall

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 12, 2006

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Medical liability case filings across Pennsylvania dropped 38% in 2005 when compared with average numbers for 2000 to 2002. New statistics released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also showed that in Philadelphia, which has a reputation for high jury verdicts, filings decreased 55% in 2005 when compared with the same earlier period.

High court officials and the Pennsylvania Medical Society credit two important judicial reforms passed in 2002 under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. The law requires lawyers to file a certificate of merit, and it prohibits venue shopping by requiring lawsuits to be filed in the county where the alleged incident occurred.

The medical society says that although the data are evidence of positive change, reforms are still needed to combat the large jury awards and insurance payouts that still plague the legal system and keep medical liability premiums at high levels.

The American Medical Association has labeled Pennsylvania one of 22 crisis states because insurance rates are driving doctors there to move out of state, retire early or stop performing high-risk procedures.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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